Local consequences of national policies - A spatial analysis of preferences for forest access reduction

Stated preference studies eliciting welfare economic consequence of national policies, are often not considering the spatial variation in supply and demand. This spatial variation may however cause large distributional heterogeneity of policy changes. In this study, we use a choice experiment to test whether peoples' preferences for restrictions in forest access is influenced by spatial heterogeneity in local forest presence and quality conditions. Combining survey data with GIS information we assess the size of local forest cover, distance to nearest forest and forest quality indicators in a radius of 2.5 km from respondent's residence. We demonstrate that a nationally framed policy implementing access reductions to protect wildlife may have heterogeneous welfare consequences which can be described by a general disutility for access reductions and dependency on local forest attributes. Further, geo referencing the residence of all invited respondents allows us to test whether forest cover, distance and other forest attributes are different between respondents and non-respondents. No evidence of self-selection is identified.